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Routes in The Bishop

Bishop Crack T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Bishop Offwidth T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Craftwork T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Ellingwood Chimney T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Flounder T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Psycho Physics T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a R
Unknown Handcrack - AKA The Right Splitter T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: Albert Ellingwood, 1924
Page Views: 5,199 total, 25/month
Shared By: William Prehm on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


This climb has so much history! It was first climbed in 1924, which made it the hardest climb in the country at the time. As you climb this you are so inspired by how much of a climbing pioneer Ellingwood was.

This climb is located on the west face of Bishop Rock.

The rock is a little crumbly primarily in the first 50 feet of the climb.

P1 - Climb the chimney and use some slings around a chock stone to protect your moves. This climb is definitely one that you can't do during the nesting birds closures because after you make it around the chocked stone you have to climb over an eagle's nest. Make your way up the chimney to a pin that marks the start of the second pitch.

P2 - Follow the crack up to the right and get into a large cavern chimney. Climb the right side of the chimney. You will step out onto a large ledge. Climb the boulder that caps the large chimney you just moved out of and follow a wide crack to the top that is protected by a single very old spinning bolt. You could back this bolt up using a 4" or 5" cam. The anchors are on the right summit after the wide crack.

Rappel down to a large ledge. I decided to pass on using the anchors at this spot because they didn't look safe so I walked around to the left and used some solid anchors there. A double rope rappel gets you to the ground or there is an intermediate rappel station in the Bishop Chimney which is 80 feet to the ground. (the chimney to the left of Ellingwood Chimney).


Pro to 4" and 60m rope or double 50m.
Sarah Meiser
Boulder, Colorado
Sarah Meiser   Boulder, Colorado
I don't understand why there is so much ado about rapping from this thing. The new SPlatte guidebook says the easiest way is a double rope rap down the east face. I have no idea why you'd haul an extra rope up for that, since like Sergio says: You can easily rap down the west side and reach the ground with a 60 meter rope, nothing tricky about it. The anchor on the summit is clearly set up for doing this. No need for double ropes or multiple raps. Nov 8, 2012
Still waiting for some "new" photos from the top.
Going to try to take my video cam up there when the sun finally comes out...with all the recent snow, the approach might be long and wet...but someone must have some photos to post here?? Feb 12, 2011
Sergio P
Idaho Springs, CO
Sergio P   Idaho Springs, CO
You can rap off the main anchor from the top straight down towards the west. One 60m rope easily gets you down to a walk off. Then 5 min walk back to the start of the climb. Sep 13, 2010
I would love to see some cool photos from the top of this rock...I will post mine here asap..thinking about climbing this in the very near future..last time was last Sept. and I got to right below the roof hole.... Aug 18, 2010

Eddie, that's basically how Ellingwood did it back in '25 or so. He lead the whole thing, probably without pro and belayed his partners to the top. He then belayed them down, and then downclimbed, again likely without pro. It has been ages since I did the route, but there were 2 spots that felt a little committing for the grade - sort of exiting the chimney at about the 2/3 point, and a minor layback/slab thing at the very top, which isn't too exposed, but would still probably not be great to fall on. Aug 16, 2010

Has anyone here reading these comments know if you can climb The Ellingwood Chimney route (5.8) free with NO rope..? I climbed into the Chimney last Sept (9-09) to right below the roof and was by myself. I didn't want to squeeze up thru the crack to the top if I needed a rope to get back down. I have read some old stories that Albert Ellingwood downclimbed the whole route..? ! ? The summit views up there look awesome and I would drag up my video camera as well..

If anyone has any Beta about this route please write info here, I will check back in a few weeks... (my skill level is to solo 5.8-5.9 )and this rock is really beautiful and away from all the crowds of wannabees....

thankx Aug 15, 2010
Mark Roth
Mark Roth   Boulder
A #5 is a little small but a #6 would be perfect for the last section. May be hard to drag up all that chimney, but probably worth it. Sep 29, 2008
Jay Eggleston
Jay Eggleston   Denver
The bolt on the last pitch is rusty, 1/4" mank. If you don't bring a big cam like a #5 or #6 Camalot, it is not protectable. The rap anchors do not inspire confidence either. The summit rap is from one modern bolt and two ancient 1/4" bolts. The second rap is similar. Nonetheless, a really fun climb. Sep 29, 2008
The story goes that Ellingwood downclimbed the entire route since rappel technique had yet to be developed. Further embellishments have him doing this sans a belay. Neat museum piece fixed pins last time I climbed this. Great route, historical, and a must tick. -SL Mar 11, 2002
We did this route on a perfect, sunny, still Sunday in February. My bellyflop onto the first pitch chockstone was almost perfect, but not as good as Dan's in the picture. My partner and I both wondered if maybe Ellingwood, being a smallish fellow, tunneled around the chockstone on the inside. It's certainly clean enough. The eagles' nest was bone-dry and didn't stink at all, so I'm not sure how long it's been since it was a viable home. The summit is beautiful: large, flat, great 360-degree view. The descent took some effort, but probably not as much as Ellingwood himself expended: rappelling being unknown in this country at the time, or at least to him, he downclimbed the route (!) Kneepads were a great idea. Large pro is useful, but we were perfectly happy with a standard rack. It was a great, fun route that made you wonder just how good those guys were back then! Mar 11, 2002